AN APPERLEY Bridge school has set a record by attaining a prestigious mental health and wellbeing award.

Woodhouse Grove is the only independent school in the UK to achieve the Optimus Education Wellbeing Award.

The scheme has been developed in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau with a focus on ensuring effective practice and provision is in place within schools to promote the emotional wellbeing and mental health of both staff and pupils. It centres on the long-term culture of a school, embedding an ethos where mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all.

Woodhouse Grove prides itself on its “unique” approach to education, focusing on nurturing the individual and helping each pupil grow into the very best version of themselves that they can be.

Learning Support and Pastoral Teams offer provision and interventions that match the needs of students and staff and pupils can also seek advice and support from each other at a pupil-run drop-in centre “The Hub”.

A more recent development that demonstrates Woodhouse Grove’s commitment to promoting mental health as a part of school life is the appointment of a Head of Wellbeing, Rebecca Vernon.

She said: “It is vital that the whole school community is engaged to support emotional health. As well as having systems in place to support all different types of emotional and mental health needs, we encourage pupils to take responsibility for each other.

“We have also recently established an online resource, the Student Support Alphabet, offering information and advice on a huge amount of topics, which is accessible to students 24 hours a day.”

Headmaster James Lockwood, said: “We are tremendously proud to have achieved the Wellbeing Award for Schools - a testament to our staff and pupils and their commitment to our school ethos regarding the importance of mental health. “Woodhouse Grove is not just a school, we are a community – and, as in any community, we take responsibility for each other’s wellbeing. It is wonderful that this has been acknowledged.”

News of the school’s achievement coincides with World Mental Health Day which falls on October 10 every year.

The day aims to raised awareness of mental health issues around the globe

According to the World Health Organisation half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. It says suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 29.